How Atlanta’s Australian Bakery Cafe is introducing the meat pie to Americans

How Atlanta’s Australian Bakery Cafe is introducing the meat pie to Americans

The business was a labour of love for Steel and Allen, two lifelong friends born three weeks apart in the Victorian country town of Boort, about 255 kilometres from Melbourne.

The Australian Bakery Cafe in the bustling city of Marietta.Credit: Farrah Tomazin

The pair lost touch in their early teens when Steel’s father sold their family bakery and moved to Berriwillock, but they unexpectedly reunited again when they both started in the same class at Melbourne’s William Angliss Food College.

After embarking on their own careers, they joined forces in 1991 to open the American Rock & Roll restaurant in Bendigo. But it wasn’t long before another seed was planted: to introduce a piece of Australia to the US.

Allen was the first to move across the Pacific, choosing Marietta as the place to relocate because it had a high population of Australians, Brits and South Africans, many of whom make up much of the customer base today, both in person and online. Soon after, Steel followed. Neither have looked back since.

“We get a lot of people from Commonwealth countries,” he says. “Over 100,000 South Africans are in Atlanta, so they’re a big part of our business too, along with the English, Irish, Scots, Kiwis, Fijians…”


“Over the year we’re probably making about 500 pies a day and do a lot of mail order as well through the website. That’s a big part of our business, particularly as it gets colder for Christmas or Australia Day here.”

There have, of course, been challenges. The COVID pandemic upended business across the US in 2020, while the murder of George Floyd in May that year sparked race riots across the country and made it impossible to deliver to certain cities.

But through it all, the Australian bakery created by two blokes from Boort has survived and thrived in the suburbs of Atlanta.

“Even during COVID, when we never knew what was going to happen from one week to the next thing, many people were sitting at home on the computer and looking at food, so we ended up still being busy,” Steel says.

“And a lot of people that come over here will say that our pies are even better than the ones they tasted in Australia. That’s always been the aim.”

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